Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is rolling out a face unlock option for the Android app to enhance its biometric options used for unlocking the app. The new option will allow users to open WhatsApp via face unlock. While Android does allow users to lock/unlock their WhatsApp using biometrics, it currently only limited to the fingerprint lock. WhatsApp for iOS, on the other hand, already has a face unlock option. According to a report in WABetaInfo, WhatsApp has already submitted the update through Google Play beta program.
The upcoming Android feature was spotted by WABetaInfo in the beta build 18.104.22.168 of WhatsApp. While the report does not reveal a release date for the update, it says that the update will be made available in a future build. It says that WhatsApp will support face recognition if the device has the appropriate sensors. Further, the feature is said to be device-centric, meaning users will have to set up face unlock all over again when/if they change their smartphone. Apart from the face unlock feature, the WABetaInfo report also said that WhatsApp beta build 22.214.171.124 also improves the already existing fingerprint lock as well.
Once face unlock for WhatsApp on Android is rolled out, the 'Fingerprint Lock' option on the app will be changed to 'Biometric Lock' because it will support more than just one way to authenticate users. Further, WhatsApp will also consider a unique identification in case fingerprint or face recognition fail. Currently, there is no way to open WhatsApp if the fingerprint unlock feature doesn't work.